Logan fumbled one hand over the top of his nightstand, knocking the vibrating object of his sleepy quest onto the carpeted floor with a thud.
“Dammit.” A grunt and a shift and he rolled to his stomach, reaching under the bed to pick up the cell phone. He yawned, blinking bleary eyes at the incandescent blue shimmer and the unrecognized phone number on the ID display. It was the same number that had shown up twice the day before, but whoever it was had not left a message.
With an irritated flip of his hand he snapped the cell open. “This had better be fuckin’ good,“ he grouched, scratching one hand across his bare chest, stirring the thick hair there.
“My apologies, Logan. Did I wake you?”
Immediately Logan sat up in bed, recognizing the smooth, slightly accented voice on the other end. “Naw. ’Sides, I always got time for you, ‘Ro. Been too long.”
“Yes, it has been.” She agreed with a slight laugh. “How are you doing?”
The sound of a match striking followed by the light smack of Logan inhaling was heard by both through the phone, then “Same as ever, darlin’.”
He could almost hear her smile on the other end. “Yes, well that explains the pangs on unease in my gut,” she teased.
Logan chuckled. “How ‘bout yerself?”
A soft sigh and a pause. “I am well. Considering.”
Yeah, weren’t they all, he thought. Life as an X-Man had been at times unbearably difficult before, but lately it had become an outright nightmare. With most of the world’s mutant population depowered thanks to one Scarlet Witch, the struggle for coexistence had become a struggle for survival.
Logan exhaled a cloud of smoke, holding his cigar aloft. “Y’know, you could always come home.”
Another pause from Ororo’s end. “And where are you exactly, dear friend? Last I heard you were in Japan.”
“Still am.” Logan rolled his shoulders, his body still recouping from his fight with the Silver Samurai.
“Wanderers,” Ororo said quietly. “That’s what we are, Logan. Two wanderers; searching.”
Logan sat silent in the dark, hearing her words, and the faint sadness underneath them.
“But your journey is different now,” she continued. “Where once you were searching for a long lost past, you are now searching for different answers.”
Logan growled low in his throat. “All I want is the truth.”
“And what then?”
“And what then?” she repeated.
Logan set his cigar in the ashtray, running his now free hand through his wild hair. “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
“Unless it is already burned.”
“’Ro, you ok, darlin’?”
A muted sort of laugh came across the line. “Same as ever,” she returned his answer.
“I know you, woman. What’s up?”
Logan could hear her faint breathing. “Do you ever…want more?”
“I ain’t following.”
“Than the answers to a long ago past. Do you ever think of the future? A wife? Children?”
Logan sat quiet for a long minute, his gut clenching and unclenching in time to an array of painful and joyous memories, memories that were his now. “In the whole scheme of things, I’ve been more unfortunate than most, and luckier than many with the life I’ve had since joinin’ the X-Men. I was blessed to find more than one woman I could love, but there’s only one that I’d want t’ share my life with. I lost her.”
Ororo’s sympathetic tone carried a wealth of understanding. “Mariko.”
Logan clenched a fist, guilt assailing him. He hefted a weighty sigh. “Much as I loved M’iko, in the long run it wouldn’t have worked between her and me. She was everythin’ good and pure I’d ever wanted, but thought I didn’t deserve. Now, with all my memories restored, I know I didn’t deserve her.”
Ororo was quiet, then in voice that Logan didn’t quite recognize, she whispered, “Jean.”
Logan closed his eyes on the beautiful red head’s name. “She came to me. The last time she rose. She came to me.”
“Logan, she came for Scott,” Ororo gently reminded him.
“Naw. The Phoenix came for Slim. Jean, she came to me.”
Ororo cleared her throat. “And you think she will return for you again?”
Logan shook his head in his room. “Don’t know.”
“But you’ll be waiting for her, if she does? Even if it takes forever?”
“I’ll always be here for her.”
“Why all the questions, ‘Ro?”
There was a faint rustling, like she had turned the phone into her shoulder, then she was back. “I didn’t mean to pry.”
“You ain’t and ya damn well know it.” Logan swung his legs over the edge of the bed. “You and me are close, darlin’. Closer than most. But you know this, I don’t gotta remind ya. What’s eatin’ ya?”
“I’m fine. Perhaps a little homesick and wanting to hear a loved one’s voice.”
“The…team…they miss you.”
“As I am sure they do you.”
“Touché.” He grunted, rising to stretch his free arm over his head. “You know, Cyke has his hands full with Emma.”
“I can well imagine.”
“He could use you.”
“Scott is most capable. Any word on Charles?”
Logan growled again. “None. Vanished. I swear if that bitch--”
“Hope. It is the gift and curse of being an X-Man, Logan. Don’t lose it now. Charles will be found.”
“See. This is why the team needs you.”
“I have faith in the X-Men. They will succeed, with or without me.”
“It’s always better with you,” Logan stated, and he meant it.
“We all have paths to follow, Logan. Perhaps this is just that point where they diverge.”
Logan stiffened. “What’re you sayin’, ‘Ro?”
“I’m saying…good night. It was good to hear your voice.”
“Yours too, darlin.” Again he meant it. He felt lighter than he’d felt since his memories had been restored.
“Take care of yourself, Mountain Man.”
“You-” click. “Too,” he finished, giving his phone a questioning look. As conversations went it wasn’t one of the most intense they’d shared, but Logan felt like he was missing something.
Probably just missing her. ‘Ro was an important person in his life, and they had been progressively growing distant over the past few months.
Since her return to Africa he discovered how much he missed their flirtatious outings, and heartfelt conversations. No one knew him like she did. She was his best friend. In a world where everyone was a liar and deceiver, it was comforting to have one person he could count on to always be there for him.
Yup, he thought laying back onto the bed. Ororo was the best friend he’s ever had.
Ororo gave the large man leaning in her doorway a distracted look. “You are persistent.”
“It’s my job.”
“Very well. Tell his majesty that I agree to meet with him.”
“He’ll be pleased.” Luke grinned.
Ororo tugged at the silk scarf around her neck absently. A gift from Logan. “Yes, I’m sure he will be. T’Challa does like to get his own way.”
“For you, I assure you, he’d compromise.”
Ororo closed her eyes. “Yes. After all, isn’t that what life is all about. Compromising one dream to achieve another.”
“Miss Munroe?” Luke’s brow furrowed, not following.
Ororo waved one hand. “Nothing.”
“I’ll have a car sent--”
“No need. I’ll make it there on my own.”
When the door to her small cottage closed she sat heavily on the couch, her phone still in hand. “Besides, I prefer to march myself to the hangman’s noose.”
Deciding an afternoon rain shower was in order, Ororo stripped herself of her flowing garments. Everything save the scarf around her neck and took to the sky.
Amidst the clouds the Goddess of the Desert let herself go, crying the tears of a love not known, relishing the torrential rain and pelting winds before pulling it all back inside and bottling it up in a familiar icy shell.
Do you ever want more
She did. She wanted a home and a family and a life of her own. Someone to share her dreams with and someone to stand beside her.
Someone willing to wait forever for her.